WELCOME TO THE HUNLEY NEWSLETTER
ALL issues are dedicated to the brave and honorable Men of the Hunley and to the Subscribers and Contributors to each issue, particularly to the CSS H L HUNLEY CLUB and The Post and Courier,
and The State Paper, and lots of individuals.
Thanks to vashrs@.......net
for the subscription donation.
Bigamy, said Wilde, was one
wife too many - and monogamy was the same.
HUNLEY SINK IN MOBILE, ALABAMA.
Pictures above provided by CSS HL Hunley Club member
HUNLEY Replica Moves To USS ALABAMA Battleship
Wednesday, Dec 17, 2003
View of the Park - 2002
Replica of Submarine HL Hunley
Moving to Battleship Memorial Park
On Wednesday, December 17, 2003 the replica of the
HL Hunley was moved to its new permanent home, USS
ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park. The HL Hunley
arrived at Battleship Memorial Park around 10:00 am
and was quickly set up for display. The HL Hunley
had been located at 355 Government Street, the
Bernstein-Bush house and the former location of the
Museum of Mobile since the early 1990s.
The HL Hunley was designed, built, and tested in
Mobile, Alabama over a number of years, early during
the Civil War. It was then transferred to Charleston
Harbor, and was the first submarine to sink an enemy
vessel. It sank under mysterious circumstances
during the return trip back to port. It lay in
Charleston Harbor until it was raised in 2000. The
HL Hunley is now being restored and is located at
the U.S. Naval facility in Charleston, SC.
Sometime during the late 1980’s, Mobile United
commissioned an impressionistic model of the HL
Hunley based on the best available data. The
completed model has been on display at the Museum of
Mobile since completion.
Mobile Museum Board Inc. arranged a loan to the USS
ALABAMA Battleship Commission for the move. The HL
Hunley’s permanent home is near the
USS DRUM, a WWII veteran with 12 battle stars,
sitting alongside the walkway to the DRUM in order
to further illustrate submarine technology.
In exchange for this loan, the Battleship Commission
will have signage directing visitors to the Museum
of Mobile to further their historical knowledge of
“We are absolutely delighted,” said Bill Tunnell,
Executive Director of Battleship Memorial Park, “to
have this magnificent replica of the Hunley
displayed near the National Historic Landmark
submarine USS DRUM (SS-228). It is a wonderful
example to show our visitors the development of
submarines in the United States. We are proud to
participate with the Museum of Mobile on this great
The Park and the Museum had collaborated on an
earlier exchange. In 1986, the Park loaned the
Museum for permanent display a model of the Hunley
depicting the interior of the submarine. The model
had been on display at the Park, but since Hunley
was built in Mobile, Battleship officials felt the
Museum would be the better place for display.
USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park was established
to honor Alabamians who served in all United States
military actions, Battleship Memorial Park hosts
over 300,000 visitors annually, and is an
internationally known major tourist attraction in
Alabama. Since opening in 1965, it has been
self-supporting for daily operations without using
State of Alabama, or Mobile City and County tax
HURRICANE KATRINA SLAMS BATTLESHIP MEMORIAL PARK
Year Ago- Monday, Aug 29, 2005
Hunley replica in
USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park has suffered immense
damage from Hurricane Katrina as the killer storm ripped
through the Central Gulf Coast area during the morning hours
on Monday, August 29, 2005. A storm surge of at least 10
feet coupled with triple digit winds has dealt the Park a
crippling blow. The unofficial surge is the largest ever
recorded in Mobile Bay.
Initial damage assessments show that Battleship ALABAMA
(BB-60) has shifted position and is listing some 5+/-
degrees to the portside or landside. The aft concrete
gangway leading up to the ship has been critically damaged.
The Aircraft Pavilion has significant damage to all sides
and may be a complete loss. Many aircraft and displays
inside the Pavilion have been severely damaged. Submarine
USS DRUM (SS-228) has apparently suffered little, if any,
damage. Although the Pavilion and Gift Shop were completely
boarded for protection, Katrina’s winds, with a 108
mile-per-hour blast recorded at the Park while the Wind
Gauge was still operational, ripped the boards from both
buildings. Breaches to the Pavilion exterior are numerous.
The Gift Shop glass walls were broken, with two feet plus of
water in the building, which houses the Ticket Office, Gift
Shop, Inventory Stock Room, and Snack Bar.
As this report is being written in the immediate aftermath
of the hurricane passing through Mobile, a minimum of five
feet of water covers the entire Park as well as Battleship
Parkway. Water is lapping at the bottom of the I-10 bridges.
Downtown Mobile has severe flooding.
The entire Battleship family, which includes Park employees,
Battleship Commission members, and especially her World War
II crewmen, are optimistic about the Park's recovery. Park
officials have pledged a full restoration to make the Park
bigger and better in light of this natural disaster.
NOTE: January 9, 2006 marked the Grand Reopening for USS
ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park - In a phone interview with
Staff September 28, 2006 they stated that they plan to
restore the Hunley replica as soon as possible and that it
was always a popular exhibit. They discovered that the
Hunley exhibit was more appropriate at a Naval Museum
where visitors were more focused on a topic of their similar
Naval Submarine Alligator -
the first submarine in the United States Navy
It is with great
pleasure that I write to announce a major revamp of the Navy &
Marine’s Alligator website. This rework was long overdue
and has resulted in the concentration of the previously-known
history as well as the discovery of quite a lot of new
A large portion of the letters relating to the construction of
Alligator are now posted in “The Historical Records” section, as
are the various reports on Villeroi’s earlier
submarinesincluding not only his original “fish boat” and the
subsequent “duikboot” (“dive boat”) sketched by the Dutch, but
also several pieces written in American newspapers describing
his first experiments along the Delaware in 1859; these appear
on the Villeroi page under “The Boat & Its Designer.” This
section also has new, large-format PDF files of the original
schematics, as well as a line drawing of Alligator based
on those drawings. Several articles on the Neafie & Levy Ship &
Engine Building Company round out this portion of the site,
along with a location map of Philadelphia.
Alice Smith’s exemplary research on the men and women who built
and manned Alligator appears in “The Crew” section, as
does a separate page devoted to its last commander, Samuel
Eakinswho is quickly outstripping Villeroi as the most
interesting person involved with the boat. Sam had a varied and
impressive career in several fields, including silver plating,
explosives, and diving. The intersection of the last two of
these got him a job on the Philadelphia expedition to
Sebastopol, where his name appears four times in one newspaper
report. (A great many other reports on the operation are now
part of the site as wellnot so much because they relate to
Alligator, but just to give an idea of what submarine
salvage technology was like at the time.)*
“The Missions” section has a brief description of each of the
missions assigned or proposed for Alligator as well as
suggestions as to how effective the submarine might have been at
Additions planned for the immediate future will include a
section on other submarines of the period (antecedents as well
as contemporaries) and some information on the science behind
Villeroi’s air scrubber.
Lastly, please note the list of researchers that appears at the
bottom of the main page; I know I've left people out, and would
appreciate feedback to correct the omissions.
have not (yet) physically found Alligator--but we continue to
pick up more and varied information about its inventor and the
sub in the historical record--things we never even suspected.
While everything will be included in a major revamp and update
of the Navy & Marine LHA Alligator website (that I hope to have
finished by mid-September), here are some teasers . . .
The fact that Alligator employed a diver who exited through an
airlock in the bow has always been a known fact about the boat.
But in rereading several letters penned just before the fateful
trip to Charleston, it looks like Samuel Eakins had another idea
about how to use the sub to make an attack--one that did not
involve a diver at all . . .
In seeking to better understand de Villeroi's background in
submarine research, we continue to turn up newspaper and journal
articles that describe his experiments. These will all be posted
as part of the rework mentioned above. There is one article that
appeared in a French journal, l'Echo de la Fabrique, that we
could use some help with. While we have the gist of the piece
from a subsequent English-language article that must have been
based on it, the French original has several paragraphs not
included in the translation. Do we have any French-speakers on
the update list? And of those people, would anyone be up for
volunteering a translation? So that you know what you're getting
into, the text of the work follows. If you are interested,
please email me so we don't end up having six people duplicating
the work. Merci!
President, Navy &
Marine Living History Association
*I admit to getting carried away with locating reports on this
massive undertaking in hopes of finding further mention of
Eakins. As a result, I think we now have the single largest
(maybe the only) page devoted to the attempts to raise the
Russian fleet following the end of the Crimean War!
Alabama Department of
Archives & History
John Augustus Walker Murals
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100
In 1936 John Augustus Walker was commissioned to paint these
murals for the arts division of the Works Progress
Administration (WPA). The murals are oil on canvas
paintings applied directly to the wall; they depict high
points in Mobile’s history. They were installed in
Mobile’s Old City Hall/Southern Market complex. Located
on South Royal Street, it is now the home of The Museum
Science and Invention
This mural shows Horace L. Hunley supervising the building in
Mobile of the submarine Hunley in 1863. The Hunley
was the first submarine to sink a surface ship in warfare.
CONNING TOWER REMOVED
scientists Paul Mardikian (from left), Nestor Gonzalez and Philippe de
Vivies prepare to hoist the submarine’s rear hatch after it was removed from
the aft conning tower at right.
The last time the rear hatch of the H.L. Hunley was opened, a small band of
men climbed into the submarine by lantern light and never came out.
On Tuesday, more than 142 years after that night, scientists took off that
hatch and, for the first time, peered into the Confederate sub the same way its
Looking into the sub's aft conning tower like it was a passage to history,
scientists immediately began looking for clues to tell them why the Hunley
disappeared after sinking the Housatonic, why those men never came back.
What they initially found was a mixed bag. It appears the hatch was latched -
that's what they expected - but the archaeologists were amazed by what seems to
be a brass pressure valve in the hatch.
"This is pure speculation, but it may have been to relieve pressure in case
of an emergency," said Maria Jacobsen, the project's senior archaeologist.
Hunley firsts have become somewhat routine at the Warren Lasch Conservation
Center, but this was an exception to the people who know the project - every
scientist in the place was watching the hatch open, as if it were a moonshot.
"It's been this way since Ridgaway closed it," said Hunley senior conservator
Paul Mardikian, evoking the ghost of the sub's first officer, Joseph Ridgaway.
"It's bigger than I would have thought."
The hatch - which seems impossibly small for anyone to squeeze through - is
bigger than original estimates.
The oval-shaped conning tower is about 16.5 inches wide and nearly 21 inches
long - practically spacious for gaunt 19th century sailors to slip through. Some
historical records of the first attack submarine suggest tighter confines,
claiming the hatches were merely 15 inches wide and "under two feet" long.
Part of the reason the opening seemed smaller was because of the mass of
concretion - sand and mud that has hardened like concrete on its skin - is
thicker than anyone realized. With the hatch removed, it's easy to see that the
cast-iron walls of the conning tower are only a centimeter or so thick.
Scientists had to remove the rear hatch to get the last glass deadlight out
of the sub. Unlike the other deadlights, all mounted from the outside, the aft
hatch's glass porthole is accessible only from the inside.
And since the hatch was still secured, its locking mechanism stood between
the scientists and the glass. The forward hatch will not have to be removed; its
glass could be removed from the outside.
It took about a week to get the rear hatch off, a tricky proposition given
that the hinge on the cast iron hatch had been sanded nearly off by harsh ocean
currents and was so brittle it could break off in your hand.
Jacobsen said scientists were helped by the rubber gasket, which expands and
contracts with temperature. It had expanded enough to crack the concretion. They
were also helped by the fact that the part of the locking mechanism that held
the hatch in place has long since disintegrated. All that was holding the hatch
on was the concretion and a extremely fragile hinge pin.
The hatch is now in the lab, where the scientists will X-ray it, study it and
try to see if it opens up anything else.
Contact Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or
USED WITH PERMISSION OF THE POST AND COURIER AND
ABOUT THE MYSTERY SUBMARINE aka LSM Submarine
I enjoyed reading issue 65 (haven't finished all of it yet). <<LSN
Several things I want to mention. The first is that the LSM sub
was never designed or meant to operate in the Mississippi
River. I never mentioned it, and I didn't see it mentioned in
the great article by Andrew R. English, but from the many
references of the Mississippi and it's naval blockade, it might
have implied that it was to operate in the river. It's sole
purpose was to navigate in Lake Pontchartrain, where New
Orleans was being menaced by a Union gunboat (I can't recall its
name at the moment).
The current in the Mississippi is so strong, it would have been
to overcome. In fact, if you stand on the levee in New Orleans
and look at the river, you will notice that along the shore
line, the river actually
flows upstream due to the eddy force generated by the current.
This was used extensively by steamboats traveling up the river
during their day. Boats hugged the shoreline going north, and
traveled south in the center of the river.
Since the Pioneer was being tested in Pontchartrain, and
scuttled there in a canal when New Orleans fell, and both
America Diver and Hunley were tested in Mobile Bay, it is fairly
safe to say that most hand-cranked designs were built with the
plan to operate them in the stillest of waters. The possible
exception is the sub supposedly operated in the James River, and
even the ones built here in Shreveport. The Red River was a
treacherous waterway, infamously known as the "Steamboat
Graveyard". I can only imagine that the Confederate intention
was to make a one-pass strike against Union ships traveling
upriver. The subs were equipped with a forward spar mounted
torpedo, and a rear, rope towed torpedo. The phrase "suicide
run" comes to mind.
From what I have read, the James River sub is probably still
there. A spy
supposedly informed the Union Army about the sub and its snorkel
float, and Union artillery trained their cannons on the float
when it was seen,
destroying it. Which probably killed the crew.
It was mentioned in the article by English, that someone
socket in the front of the LSM sub was a sighting device. This
is not true.
Running trim, the socket was probably underwater, and the back
end of the socket is one piece with its sidewall as you can see
from my attached picture. The camera angle distorts the photo,
making it appear that the socket is angled downward. I placed
an inclinometer in the front opening, and the tube is at zero
degrees. Also, during its many years of being on display,
someone crammed a rock into the tube, and only about five inches
of the inner length can be measured from the outside. I guess
it to be about 14 inches long. The tube appears to be hammer
welded to the nose plate, which is riveted inside the hull
plates, not outside like a cap. It can only be speculated as to
how the nose would have performed while trying to drive a
torpedo into the bottom of a ship. Still, this was a first of
its kind by the builders, and performance parameters had to be
The bottom photo shows the dive bar, connected to the dive plane
axle and stuffing boxes, and part of the front rudder steering
mechanism. The rear was controlled by the same design, and a
T-bar equipped with pulleys was used to cross the connecting
ropes, allowing the rudders to move in opposing directions.
It is also my opinion that this was a purpose-built machine, not
a prototype for a larger machine.
NOTE: Hi George,
Glad you liked the email. In re-reading it, I'd like you to
change, to clarify my description:
The bottom photo shows the dive bar, connected to the dive
plane axle and > stuffing boxes, and part of the front
rudder steering mechanism. The rear (RUDDER) > was
controlled by the same design, and a T-bar equipped with
pulleys was > used to cross the connecting ropes, allowing
the rudders to move in opposing > directions.
Looking forward to the next issue!
The use of cast iron is almost non-existent on this boat.
Apart from the
cast iron stuffing box housings for the prop shaft, rudders,
and dive axle,
all metal is 1/4 inch sheet iron for the hull, and 1/8 for
surfaces and prop.
There is a brass ring inlet on the right side of the boat,
forward of the
hatch area, it's center is about an inch in diameter. It is
intake/exhaust port, for connecting to interior tubing to
flood for ballast,
and exhaust for surfacing. There are no ballast tanks. The
occupants of the sub had to operate in water that was
probably waist deep while
submerged. I have suspicions that there was a wooden plank
used as a "floor" in the bottom V of the hull, and have been
told that a type of
wooden structure was found in the bottom during
The hatch hole has a flat surface of metal (it is flat, but
arcing contours of the hull), mounted on the inside of the
hull and riveted
into place, extending into the hatch hole opening about 1
1/2 inch. It
provides a sealing surface for the hatch, but there is no
mechanism that I have found, so possibly the latch bars were
attached to the cover. It is my feeling the hatch cover was
a single piece of sheet metal, formed to the contours of the
hull, so that when closed, the cover appeared to be a part
of the hull, with possibly a deadlight installed to see when
the sub was at the surface. The hinge area for the hatch is
still in place.
Navigation sighting was by retractable periscope, mounted
forward of the hatch, and used by the pilot.
Cranking was by two men, working a crank mounted to the left
wall. From the design of the wheel on the inner end of the
prop shaft, it appears that the linking was through two
sprockets, connected by a wide, bicycle type chain, and not
a set of two gears.
Steering was accomplished by the pilot moving the front
rudder bar, looking much like the handlebars on a bicycle,
with an eyelet on each end, to tie the connecting rope to.
The ropes traveled to the back rudder, and its similar
handlebar. If there were ever guides for the ropes, mounted
on the inner hull, all evidence is lost to the lower hull
rusting through. As stated earlier, the ropes had to cross
just before reaching the rear rudder bar, for the rudders to
work opposite each other. There is a bracket still in
place, that would have held the T-bar and pulleys to make
the ropes cross. Had this not been done, the boat would
have merely crabbed from side to side, and never could have
turned around. Both rudder shafts are encased in a tubular,
sheet metal housing, terminated below the "handlebars" with
a cast iron stuffing box. Where the shafts exit the hull,
one-piece sheet metal "clams" are riveted to the hull,
providing a bearing area for the shaft.
So, what happen? Why was the sub lost on it's first dive?
Here's what I
On the forward face of the prop shaft gear, there is the
remains of a
broken, right-angled stud, fastened to the face of the gear
by bolt and nut, near the outer rim. Above that, riveted to
the top of the hull and
extending down, is a square "C" shaped bracket, with a hole
in the bottom lip.
It is my belief that, affixed to that bracket, was a hand
pump for pumping
out the ballast water, by means of a pipe and valve system,
connected to the brass inlet in the hull. The piston shaft
of the pump was connected to the stud on the face of the
prop gear, by means of a horizontal, oval eyelet, which
transformed the circular motion of the prop gear to vertical
motion, to operated the pump.
The pump would have operated continuously, as the prop
crankshaft was worked, its suction of the interior ballast
water being controlled by
opening and shutting a valve at the pump.
The crew, after submerging, worked in the light of a candle,
or in total
darkness. Shortly after submerging, while working in waste
water, the stud on the prop shaft gear broke. Panic
ensued. The piston
shaft was impossible to work by hand, without some type of
lever/handle. Quite possibly, the crew moved to the rear,
desperately trying to work the pump, causing the boat to
angle downward at the stern, causing the pump area to be
submerged in the ballast water. The hatch, being several
feet under water, was impossible to open, due to outside
And the rest, is the history we know.
P.S. A month before Katrina hit New Orleans, my wife and I
Mandeville, Louisiana, on the north shore of Lake
Pontchartrain, to visit
the Maritime Museum there. I don't know how badly it was
hit by Katrina. I took several photos of the mock-up of the
Pioneer sub, which is on display there. I'll send them to
you, if you are interested.
-- George W Penington <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hey Steve...Thanks for the new news and response...I
am sending Andrew English a copy..see if he wants to add something
for the next newsletter.. I am piecing it
together now to send out at the end of
the month. George
I was delighted to read Steve Smith's comments. I
will write tomorrow with more info. I think his
photos of the sub interior are great too. Interesting
to read today in other research, that Lt Alexander
was a British subject who worked in the Park & Lyons
shop in Mobile and helped design the HUNLEY. Seems to
be a very strong connection between Britons and
Confederate submarine construction.
P.S. According to ORN Series I Vol 18 (1904)p. 464, I
believe the vessel on Lake Pontchartrain Steve Smith
was referring to was the gunboat USS NEW LONDON (the
so called "Terror of the (Mississippi) Sound" She
along with the USS CALHOUN (former Confederate
privateer and later blockade runner) proved a threat
to Confederate shipping between Mobile and New Orleans
before April 25, 1862.
Also see ORN Series I Vol. 26 (1914) p.187-189
Unrelated but refers to J. D. Breaman and E.C. Singer
building the torpedos used by the "submarine boat
built at this place (Mobile), of which Whitney and
myself (Breaman) bought one fifth for $3000. We took
her to Charleston (S.C.)" He goes on to describe Lt.
Alexander and the efforts to test the boat and later
the sinking of the HOUSATONIC. This was obviously a
reference to the HUNLEY.
See same volume p. 104 for a description of the 4
submarines at Shreveport. 40 feet long, 40 inches
wide, 48 inches deep, equipped with two torpedos,
(forward boom mounted, stern mounted on a plank)
These submarines traveled at a speed of (reportedly) 4
MPH and traveled 7 feet under the water. They were
equipped with deadlights.
Also Admiral David Porter regarded E.C. Singer and J.
D. Breaman (and others in the Torpedo service) as
great threats and proclaimed "Sooner we are rid of
them the better."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew R. English received a Bachelors degree in History from the
University of Southern Mississippi in 1984 and a Masters degree
in History from the same institution in 1987. He is
currently a Major in the United States Air Force. Having
published a history of Hattiesburg, Mississippi entitled: All
Off for Gordon's Station in 2000, this is his second book.
Can you tell me the thickness of the HUNLEY's plates?
and what size were the rivets, I am guessing they were
three quarters of an inch wide? also were all the
rivets a uniform size? Thanks in advance for any help
you can provide.
When the first hull plate was removed, its thickness was
given as 3/8" I've also seen that dimension somewhere else..
The National Parks Service site report used 5/8" thickness for
weight calculation...... 1/2" for strength calculation
Monadnock, first of a two-ship class of 3295-ton twin-turret
monitors, was built at the Boston Navy Yard. Commissioned in
October 1864, she was sent to Norfolk, Virginia, to begin her
Civil War service. In December 1864 and January 1865, she used
her four fifteen-inch guns to support the two assaults that
finally captured Fort Fisher, North Carolina, thus closing the
port of Wilmington to blockade running. After Fort Fisher was
taken, Monadnock went to Charleston, South Carolina, to
take part in final operations against that city and its
defenses. In April 1865, she served briefly on Virginia's James
River, then steamed south to Havana, Cuba, where she remained
until June, covering the Confederate ironclad
special outfitting at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, in October
1865 Monadnock began a long voyage to California, the
longest cruise that a monitor-type warship had yet undertaken.
After calling at several South American ports and passing
through the Strait of Magellan, she arrived at San Francisco in
June 1866 and was soon thereafter decommissioned at the Mare
Island Navy Yard. In 1874 her wooden hull was broken up as part
of a program to "rebuild" Civil War era monitors into modern
ones. In fact, she was replaced by a completely new ship, which
was also named
some pictures of my new ironclad. The USS Monadnock. It is
about 32" long X 6" wide. enjoy.....
By Bruce Smith
Scientists remove Civil War
sub rear hatch
Shown are straps
attached to the rear
hatch of the
before it was
the first in history
to sink an enemy
warship, sank off
sending the Union
Housatonic to the
bottom on Feb. 17,
Updated: 9:17 p.m. ET Sept 12, 2006
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Scientists on Tuesday removed the
rear hatch on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley,
although the work won't immediately remove the questions
surrounding the sinking of the sub in 1864.
40-foot, hand-cranked sub, the first in history to sink
an enemy warship, sank off Charleston after sending the
Union blockade ship Housatonic to the bottom on Feb. 17,
eight Hunley crew members went down with the sub.
Hunley has two towers with hatches but the rear hatch
apparently was locked. After it was removed from the
sub, which is in a conservation tank at a lab in North
Charleston, the hatch was taken to the lab for X-rays.
way the sub was configured, most of the crew would have
had to have opened that hatch and escaped through the
fact it was locked indicates the crew didn't sense an
emergency in the last minutes of the sub, said state
Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston and chairman of the
South Carolina Hunley Commission.
ends any speculation that there was panic on board," he
Earlier this summer, scientists found that the forward
hatch, where Capt. George Dixon would have been piloting
the craft, was unlocked.
unclear whether that might have been an attempt to
escape or simply bring more air into the submarine.
Scientists have also speculated it may have simply been
damaged while the submarine sat on the ocean floor for
don't think there was any attempt to escape the
submarine that night," McConnell said. "Any attempt to
get out of the submarine would have been to the back."
remains of the crewmen, he said, were all found at their
Removing the rear hatch will allow scientists a chance
to study a section of the sub that they have not been
able to get to since it was raised more than six years
rear hatch also contains a glass view port which must be
removed before scientists can conserve the Hunley.
the rear hatch locked "the story turns back to the front
tower and why was it unlocked," McConnell said. "Did it
get damaged or did he (Dixon) have it unlocked for a
McConnell said the explanation may turn again to whether
the crew suffocated, perhaps miscalculating the amount
of oxygen they had.
important clue will be an X-ray of the valves of the
pumping system which are now encrusted with sediment.
position of the valves should indicate whether the pump
was set to take water in or out of the ballast tanks or,
in the event the Hunley had taken on water, to pump it
out of the crew compartment, McConnell said.
conning tower 2001
Navy Approves Hunley Conservation Plan
The Associated Press
Monday, September 25, 2006; 7:38 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The U.S. Navy has approved plans
to conserve the hand-cranked Confederate submarine
H.L. Hunley by soaking the sub in high pH solutions
such as sodium hydroxide or sodium bicarbonate to
remove salts from the iron.
The Hunley could be conserved by 2013 with the sub
going into the pH bath in about two years.
In this 2004 photo
released by the Friends of the
Hunley, scientist Harry Pecorelli
investigates ballast pipes and
valves of the Confederate submarine
H.L. Hunley in North Charleston,
S.C. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Friends
of the Hunley, FILE)
Innovative research using subcritical fluids could
shorten the conservation time, but "this new process
is not far enough along at this time to benefit the
conservation," retired Rear Adm. P.E. Tobin,
director of Naval History for the Navy, wrote
McConnell earlier this month.
The Navy had to approve the conservation plan
because, under an agreement signed a decade ago, the
federal government retains title to the sub while
South Carolina has permanent custody.
Clemson researchers have been experimenting to see
if the subcritical method holds promise for project.
In such technology, fluids take on the
characteristics of both a gas and a liquid under
intense heat and pressure and have unique dissolving
"We're going to continue the research because the
way the conservation plan has been outlined, it is
not incompatible with using subcritical at some
point," said Michael Drews, the materials scientist
heading the Clemson University research team helping
with the conservation.
Electrolysis, another more traditional method used
on large marine artifacts in which a slight electric
current is passed through the water to remove the
salts, has been ruled out.
Drews said that in some applications the current
doesn't always penetrate places where metals are
joined. One objective of the conservation plan is
that the sub be conserved without having to take it
"There have been cases on complex artifacts where it
(electrolysis) has not worked particularly well,"
Tobin's letter said that exhibition requirements
should not shorten the timeline for completion of
conservation, but the submarine's response to the
extraction of chlorides and stabilization must be
the deciding factor.
Drews said only scientific monitoring will determine
when the process is done.
Work on Hunley to go on for
Tue, Sep. 26, 2006
Navy decides Confederate submarine must undergo lengthy
U.S. Navy has ruled the Hunley submarine must be preserved
by a traditional soaking process, something that could
increase both the time and the cost involved to preserve the
might take five to seven years to get the H.L. Hunley
museum-ready, said Robert Neyland, head of the U.S. Navy’s
Naval Historical Center’s Underwater Archaeology Branch, on
S.C. Hunley Commission and Clemson University, which is
planning to take over the sub’s preservation, had hoped the
work would be complete by 2009.
Preservation was expected to cost about $800,000 a year for
three years, according to Clemson’s estimates. It isn’t
known how the cost would be affected annually, but the
additional time is almost sure to drive up the total money
Raegan Quinn, spokeswoman for Friends of the Hunley, the
Hunley Commission’s foundation, said Monday it’s too early
to make budget reduction projections this far out with so
many contributing factors.
making its decision, which was reviewed by more than a
half-dozen international experts, the Navy said an alternate
and quicker process developed by Clemson is too
experimental for the Hunley, raised from the ocean floor in
Navy’s preferred process involves soaking the corroded,
10-ton Confederate sub in a solution such as sodium
hydroxide or sodium bicarbonate. Those chemicals will slowly
extract sea salts from the sub’s hull.
Without preservation, the Hunley, which lies in a tank of
cool water in a North Charleston laboratory, will turn to
rust if exposed to air. Neyland said the chosen treatment is
the most conservative and safest for the sub, the first to
sink a ship in warfare.
Neyland spoke Monday after releasing a letter the Navy sent
earlier this month to Hunley Commission chairman Sen. Glenn
McConnell, R-Charleston. Efforts to reach McConnell for
comment were unsuccessful.
addition to an increase in the cost and time for
preservation, the decision means:
The Hunley Commission will have
more time to plan and build a proposed $42 million Hunley
museum. The commission approved the plan for the museum in
2004 and selected North Charleston as its site. That city
pledged in 2004 to give $50,000 per year until the sub is in
a new museum. Mayor Keith Summey could not be reached for
comment Monday about whether a longer preservation process
would cost the city more.
A proposed provision in a
tentative deal between Clemson and the Hunley Commission
that requires Clemson to preserve the Hunley by Feb. 1,
2009, now appears difficult to attain.
that provision, the Hunley Commission would be allowed to
repossess the Hunley lab if Clemson did not finish
preserving the sub by 2009. By then, Clemson would have
spent $3 million in state bond money to upgrade the lab,
meaning McConnell’s commission would acquire a lab with $3
million in improvements in 2009. If it hit the deadline,
under the deal, Clemson would keep the lab.
year, McConnell said a new technique that has been developed
at the (Hunley) laboratory in conjunction with Clemson
University would result in a speedy preservation.
envision us having the Hunley ready somewhere around
2008-2009, said McConnell at a Sept. 7, 2005, Hunley
Commission meeting, according to the minutes of that
Hunley will be able to make her final trip upstream to a new
facility many, many, many years ahead of what anybody had
projected, McConnell said then.
the Navy, which has the final say-so in Hunley preservation,
made it clear in its letter to McConnell that the best
method is the soaking method.
Navy’s letter, written by retired Admiral Paul Tobin, Naval
History director, said Clemson’s innovative research into
the sub-critical methodology is very promising, but this new
process is not far enough along at this time to benefit
conservation of Hunley. In addition, no equipment or
facilities to accommodate the submarine in this new
treatment exists. It may be that in the future, if more
research and development continues into this process, this
decision can be revisited.
praised the Navy’s decision. We recommended the approved
conservation process, while outlining the sub-critical
treatment as a potential alternative for the future once
more research is completed, she said via e-mail.
letter is the first official documentation from the Navy
stating they see great value and promise in the sub-critical
methodology, and we see it as an overwhelming endorsement of
the research we are conducting, Quinn wrote.
Essentially, Clemson’s method involved immersing the Hunley
in a pressurized heated chemical solution which
theoretically would trigger the quick release of salts.
While Clemson researchers have experimented on small iron
objects, more research is needed before attempting something
as large and complex as the Hunley, Neyland said scientists
Clemson officials did not return phone calls Monday.
Approval of a preservation plan has taken more than two
years. In 2004, Hunley scientists submitted their plan to
then, the Navy has circulated the document to leading
underwater scientists, conservators, archaeologists, and
other heritage experts from France, the United Kingdom,
Australia and the United States, Neyland said.
of those scientists, Betty Seifert, a conservator and acting
director of the Maryland Archaeological Conservation
Laboratory, said she was glad the Navy chose the time-tested
don’t want to use the Hunley as a test case, Seifert said.
The soaking process is safe. It will take a while, but you
won’t destroy the artifact.
one can know how long the work will take, she said. There’s
no easy answer. I’ve seen cannon balls that take two years.
Removing salt from iron is a tricky process that depends on
things like the iron’s makeup and how trapped the salt is in
the matrix of the metal, she said.
Hunley Commission member Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston,
said, What I want is what is best for the Hunley. Whether it
takes five or more years to preserve the Hunley is not
important. What is important is that it is done properly.
Commissioners Rep. Kenny Bingham, R-Lexington, and Sen. John
Courson, R-Richland, agreed.
only get one shot, said Bingham. But he said he also was
glad the Navy spoke favorably of Clemson’s experimental
process. It may not be used on the Hunley, he said, but it
could result in scientific advances in the future. It’s like
Seifert cautioned it may take years to preserve the Hunley.
This is not instant gratification.
Monk at (803) 771-8344.
I could find no other email address on the web site to mail
this to so I
hope you can forward my message to the appropriate person.
Thank you for your recent invitation to join "The Friends of
the Hunley", unfortunately I am retired and on a fixed
income so $60 is a lot of money to me.
However, I did visit the Hunley a few years ago when
visiting Charleston, and the gentleman who was at the
controls of the crane that actually lifted the ship from the
bottom, Carl Jenkins Montgomery, is a long-time acquaintance
of mine having assisted me at one point on the construction
of my vessel "Bandersnatch" along with his father in the mid
I to, was very interested in why the Hunley sank (the last
three) and carefully observed everything while I was at the
In addition to the points mentioned in the letter recently
sent to me,
there were others I observed at the museum:
1. After impaling the torpedo onto the hull of the target
submarine backed away as the triggering line unwound from a
spool on deck so when the torpedo exploded the conning hatch
portlights were directly facing the explosion.
2. There was a receipt on display for 150' of 3/8' line, the
line for the torpedo, indicating that the submarine was 150'
away from the target when the torpedo exploded.
3. There followed soon thereafter a secondary explosion on
vessel of one of its ammunition magazines.
4. Both portlights in the conning hatch were broken.
5. There was no de-watering pump (bilge pump) indicated on
the plans or descriptions of the Hunley.
My conclusion was that the submariners at the time did not
have an true appreciation of the power of an underwater
shock wave and that the closeness of the submarine to both
the torpedo and the secondary explosions caused the
portlights to be broken allowing water to enter the
submarine, water that there was no means to remove.
It could be that the water in the submarine due to the
caused her to be so low in the water that by the time the
hatch was opened to show the blue light there was not
enough freeboard below the hatch top to prevent the sea from
entering in large quantities and sinking the vessel.
Lying 30 07.7N 081 39.6W
Julington Creek Estuary FL
Dear Norm...there must some confusion ...we don't charge for
anything..if you got a letter asking for money it might be a
scam. It is not from us. I write a newsletter that goes out
every month or so and will answer your questions soon . By
the way the newsletter is free, I'll sign you up if you
like. You can also join our discussion group.
Some people donate $5.00 -$10.00 dollars...
Please send me a copy of the letter you got so I can check
it. George W.Penington Webmaster and Editor of the Hunley
website and newsletter,
I write a newsletter that goes out every month or so and
will answer your questions soon . By the way the newsletter
is free, I'll sign you up if you like. You can also join
our discussion group.
E-MAIL AND GUEST BOOK SELECTIONS
From: "Ingo Bauernfeind" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 11:49 PM
Subject: Contact to model maker Mr. W.
Forwarded: To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My current book
project on the USS Arizona I am looking for
a really detailed (radio-controled) model,
which I would like to include in my book. I
found a great model build by Mr. W.
Blackmore on this website.
Maybe you can help me to contact him or
someone else, who owns a detailed model
(please see original message below).
If you have any questions about PH, USS
Arizona, USS Missouri, or Bismarck, Prinz
Eugen, please feel free to contact me.
Aloha, Ingo email@example.com
Dear Mr. Blackmore,
First of all you deserve a great compliment
for your fantastic USS Arizona ship model. I
found it on the "Warship-Models-Underway"
My name is Ingo Bauernfeind, I am originally
from Germany but I live in
Hawaii, where I work for a local video
production company and institutions in Pearl
Harbor. This includes projects in
cooperation with the USS Arizona Memorial,
USS Missouri, USS Bowfin, and the USN. My
final project at Hawaii Pacific University
was a documentary about the midget sub
attack on PH, which was on TV and is now for
sale at the USS Arizona Museum.
I am currently writing a book about the USS
Arizona with the USS Arizona Memorial
(historian Daniel Martinez) and my German
publisher Frey Verlag(www.museumsschiffe.de).
Working title: The Battleship USS Arizona -
Then and Now
The book will focus on the ships's life and
a large photo section incl.
underwater pictures. The museum will also
benefit from the sale.
I also would like to include a chapter about
the USS Arizona as a ship
model. As a result, I would be very grateful
if I could use your photos for my book.
In exchange I can offer you rare photos of
the USS Arizona from the
Memorial's collection, pictures of PH, USS
Missouri, other warships, etc. I also can
get you other materials about the ship since
I work with the museum. I also will credit
you and include a link to the website.
If you are interested you also can write an
essay about you idea to build the USS
Arizona as an model.
Please let me know if you are interested in
working with me and if we can come to an
agreement that benefits both sides.
Thank you very much.
Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, September 21,
2006 2:07 PM
Subject: H L Hunley Crewman
Has any more info ever
been found on Seaman Joseph Ridgeway
from the Hunley. I am researching my
Ridgeway line and was curious who his
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a
national, nonprofit, land
conservation organization that
conserves land for people to enjoy
as parks, community gardens,
historic sites, rural lands, and
other natural places, ensuring
livable communities for generations
TPL is leading an effort to raise
public and private funds to purchase
Morris Island and protect it as a
public space for future generations.
TPL has entered into an option for
this purchase with Ginn Clubs &
Resorts, and is now seeking to raise
over $4.5 million to place Morris
Island in public ownership and
protect the island's nationally
significant historical and natural
I would like to talk with you about
our fundraising effort. No, I am
not seeking a gift. I need to
Gary D. Kovar, CFRE
Principal Gifts Officer
Southeast Regional Principal Gifts
The Trust for Public Land
2237 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32204
T: 904-388-7595 ext. 15
Conserving Land for People - an
average of 350 acres of parks and
open space each and every day. On
the Web at
The Trust for Public Land a
501(c)(3) non-profit corporation
conserving land for people.
Regarding The Campaign to Save
Morris Island — please see:
Back to the Table of Contents
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and what to see.
putting shipwreck sites and history on this map...work is in
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PLANNED by bus of Confederate Naval sites
I am planning a one week tour by bus of Confederate
Naval sites and
museums from Wilmington (and Kinston), NC to Charleston, SC; Savannah,
GA; Columbus, GA; and ending in Mobile, AL. The cost estimates per
person are $1500 to $2000 to include transportation, lodging, meals, and
admissions. Participants will have to get to Wilmington and home from
Mobile. If enough persons sign up I can line it up for this October,
otherwise it will be October 2007.
please contact me by return e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org. Input welcome.
Tours of the Hunley
are available 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Tours are not available on weekdays so that the archaeologists can continue their preservation work.
Tickets are $12 plus a service charge and can be purchased by either calling 1-877-448-6539 or on the Internet at
www.etix.com. Children under 5 are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance, and walk-up tickets are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
TO CANCEL RECEIVING THIS NEWSLETTER SIMPLY
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